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Special Audit Details Phony Invoice Scheme that Led to Convictions of Former Licking County Building Services Director, Two Others
For Immediate Release
COLUMBUS – A final report issued Tuesday by the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) details a phony invoice scheme by the former Licking County Building Services Director and accomplices that ended with a finding for recovery of $213,069 and prison sentences for two of the people involved.
A copy of the full report of the crimes of Donald Dunston and Texas residents William Crawford and Windy Miller is available online (ohioauditor.gov/auditsearch/search.aspx).
SIU, the law enforcement division of the Auditor of State’s Office, conducted a criminal investigation following a request from the Licking County Sheriff’s Office in June 2018, with concerns about Dunston, who was fired from his position as Licking County Building Services Director after questions arose about his potential improper use of a county-issued credit card to purchase fuel for a vehicle not owned by the county.
A subsequent review of Dunston’s purchasing activities uncovered numerous questionable transactions, including payments made to a fake Texas-based janitorial service owned by William Crawford, a former neighbor of Dunston. SIU determined that 109 checks totaling $173,469 were paid to Crawford’s business, Crawford R.A.W. Janitorial, through fake invoices approved by Dunston, knowing that no supplies or equipment were provided to the county.
SIU also identified six checks totaling $19,203 that were paid to a different Texas business, Whirl of Windy, for supplies and equipment that were not provided to the county. Windy Miller, of Frisco, Texas, owner of the business, was indicted for her role in the case and pleaded guilty in September 2021 to a single felony count of theft. Miller was sentenced to serve 10 days in jail and five years of community control, ordered to make restitution of $19,203.49, and fined $2,500.
Dunston pleaded guilty in March 2023 to single counts of attempted engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and theft in office and three counts of tampering with records, all felonies. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to make restitution of $192,672.97 and pay $20,397.50 in audit costs.
Crawford pleaded guilty in January 2023 to felony counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft, and tampering with records and was sentenced to four years in prison.
SIU attorneys served as special prosecutors in the case.
Dunston had already paid restitution and audit costs prior to being sentenced in Licking County Common Pleas Court.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 111 convictions resulting in more than $5.8 million in restitution (see?Map of SIU Convictions?since January 2019). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.